Re: Playgrounds losing out to budget cuts story, Sept. 25
Playgrounds add quality to lives
It is a real shame that the city of Clearwater cannot maintain its neighborhood playgrounds, which are a major quality of life asset. To eliminate them instead of repairing them is certainly overkill.
I am not familiar with the inner workings of City Hall, but it sounds like Kevin Dunbar, the "king" of Clearwater's Parks and Recreation Department, has laid down his decree that the playgrounds must go.
Perhaps a few less speed bumps or maybe eight fewer roundabouts in quiet neighborhoods would have provided the money necessary to keep these spaces for our citizens to enjoy.
Better yet, the city could have toned down or delayed the beautification of downtown Clearwater — also known as the Scientology campus — and directed this money to taxpaying citizens' quality-of-life issues.
Unfortunately, the citizens of Clearwater have come to accept anything that their leaders deem is in their best interest.
P. Padgett, Clearwater
Tarpon should reinstate coach
The firing of Tarpon Springs High School football coach Atif Austin, a good character guy who is well-liked by his players and respected in the community, is an extreme overreaction by Tarpon Springs High principal Clint Herbic.
Player safety is obviously important, and coaches, trainers and players need to get on the same page.
Principal Herbic needs to re-consider firing someone for only "one bad mistake" (his words). For the best interests of the team, school and community, Herbic should reinstate Austin immediately as head football coach.
Joe Weinzettle, Tarpon Springs
Re: Street closure rankles some folks near school story, Sept. 25
Closing Patricia is worth the hassle
This appeared to be more of a lobbying attempt to get Patricia Avenue opened to traffic than (a problem with) the closing of Pinehurst Road for the Dunedin High School homecoming parade.
We have lived on McLean Street for many years and have enjoyed watching the students celebrate their homecoming event. Is it an inconvenience that Pinehurst is closed for the event? Yes, but it is worth it.
Patricia Avenue used to be closed to traffic and was opened as a through street when the Glynwood Highlands subdivision was constructed. This new "shortcut" resulted in a significant increase in traffic volume and speed through a residential area. After traffic studies, the city recognized these unsafe conditions and reclosed Patricia Avenue earlier this year.
Is it an inconvenience that Patricia is closed? Yes, but it is worth it.
Richard Howarth, Dunedin
Re: Pinellas County EMS system
No need to knock Sunstar, crews
During many articles in this newspaper and as well as televised city meetings, Sunstar paramedics has been referred to in a disparaging way because we are a private company.
When did "private" become a dirty word? People want their kids to go to private school, they want to belong to private golf courses, they want to live in private communities, they want to go to privately run hospitals. Why, then, does it seem we are being punished for being private?
Is it a crime to do a job we love, for choosing ambulances over fire trucks and for choosing longer working hours, less pay and no state retirement?
We got in this business to take care of human beings. We did not get into this business to fight fires or be heroes. We love our county and our citizens and only want to be able to continue to do the job we were hired to do.
There are 550 of us who work at Sunstar Paramedics and I can't speak for all of them, but I, for one, did not appreciate the biased article by Times staff writer Anne Lindberg. She needs to get her facts straight. Pinellas County is not a tiered system. Sunstar is on scene before the fire departments approximately 50 percent of the time.
It is implied that paramedics and emergency medical technicians who work for Sunstar are somehow insignificant because they did not choose to fight fires as their career. It's a shame to see the rudeness and bias that our crews have to be subjected to every day since this unfortunate budget mess started. They should feel proud of the great job they do and instead have to defend themselves.
I am proud to work with these great paramedics and EMTs, and to work for such a good-hearted company that has always put the patient and our community first.
Charlene Cobb, Clearwater
Let's computerize medical records
All the back and forth about EMS and Sunstar shouts to one issue: computerizing medical records!
If the first responder recorded all the vital information gathered about the victim on a computer, it would be unnecessary for the second responder, and/or the hospital, to repeat the process. All that lifesaving data would all be available electronically at the touch of a button, critical time would be saved, the victim would be better served, taxpayers would realize a savings and the providers would be more available.
This really is a major "duhhhh" moment, lost in the unreality of political machinations, of which we have all had enough!
Stop the over-the-top bickering. Modernize and save taxpayer dollars and victim's time.
Mike MacDonald, Clearwater
Life's necessities trump the Rays
All we hear about is the poor attendance at the Rays games, but people who can afford to go forget that there are families where now there is only one breadwinner instead of two. When you go from two salaries to one, you have to cut back and entertainment is one of the easiest things to cut.
That doesn't mean we don't support the Rays — we just do so on TV. If we buy two of the cheapest tickets, pay for gas and parking, and don't forget we have to pay a babysitter, that can mean the difference between eating something other than macaroni and cheese or paying the electric bill.
That may sound drastic, but when the husband isn't working and the wife earns, at best, half of what he used to bring home, you fight every day to keep a roof over your heads, food on the table, the utility bills paid and gas for your car so you can go to work.
I'm not complaining, just explaining. We love the Rays, but just can't go to the stadium, no matter where they put it.
Jerrilyn Jones, Palm Harbor